On September 12, 2022, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the first-ever settlement with a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) lender. The lender, Prosperity Bank, agreed to pay $18,673.50 to resolve allegations it improperly processed a PPP loan on behalf of an ineligible applicant. The announcement coincides with DOJ’s creation of three COVID-19 fraud “Strike Force” teams designed to enhanced DOJ’s efforts to combat and prevent COVID-19 related fraud.
Pursuant to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, lenders who originated PPP loans were entitled to receive a fixed fee from the Small Business Administration (SBA) ranging from 1% to 5% of the loan amount. Prosperity Bank, a regional bank with branches throughout Texas and Oklahoma, was one of those lenders.